Leaving home

What a difference a few days make. I intended to write a post on Thursday afternoon, but never found the time. I was going to write about how last Monday we had a therapy session during which we talked about violence, how both Robbie and I felt about it, and how we’d tried to find something to dissipate it. Glen was away on a work trip for all of last week, so we knew this was a potentially difficult week. Robbie was a complete angel from Monday, really trying hard to be good while Glen was away. I was very proud of him. I also tried very hard to make sure I explained why I was asking him to do this or that, and to keep the tone of my voice soft.

If I had posted this last Thursday, it would have reflected well how we were doing. I was feeling much more positive about our relationship, and I thought we might have turned a corner after the past weeks. But then on Thursday evening Robbie hit me because I wouldn’t allow him to watch a second episode of a cartoon he likes to watch. It was 50 minutes after his usual bedtime, and we’d made a deal about being allowed to watch one episode while he had his milky drink and a biscuit. I was cross and disappointed after all the effort we’d made during the week.

Things got a lot worse on Friday. Glen came back from his trip and we were set for a nice dinner together after being apart for a week. Then Robbie got cross and Glen, tired after a long flight home, didn’t react very well. This only made Robbie angrier. I got caught in the crossfire. I went upstairs to see what was going on and Robbie directed his anger at me. He shoved me just as I’d got to the top of the stairs. I lost my balance and had to grip the banister to avoid falling down. Seeing this, Robbie shoved me again. The first time he shoved me had been a show of anger. The second one was meant to make me fall downstairs. I got very angry and I just couldn’t take any more of it. I told Robbie that every human being has a right to live in a safe environment where nobody hurts them. I said that when he was little he was removed from his birth parents’ home because of this. But now I was the one who wasn’t safe at home, and because of this I had to remove myself. With that I picked up my car keys and left.

I sat in the car for quite a while, shaking and unsure what to do next. I ended up going to the house of our friends who are also adopters. We had a good chat until late. I then went back home and talked to Glen. He told me Robbie had blamed himself for splitting the family up, certain that I would never come back. I told Glen to tell Robbie that I would only come back if Robbie apologised, asked me back because he wanted me home, and promised not to hit me ever again.

I couldn’t face seeing Robbie in the morning. I also thought he should realise that his actions have consequences, so I slept on the sofa and crept out of the house first thing in the morning, before Robbie got up. A few hours later Glen got in touch and said Robbie was ready to talk to me. We met on neutral ground (I didn’t want to go to the house until we’d talked) and Robbie gave me a letter in which he apologised, said he wanted me back, and said he’d “try” not to hit me. I told him how much I appreciated his letter and thanked him for it, but added that just “trying” not to hit me wasn’t enough. I wanted him to promise he wouldn’t do it again. Robbie doesn’t think that he’s able to stop hitting me, so he refused to promise. In his defence, he was very honest about it. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for me, so I said we’d talk again when he was ready to promise. Glen told Robbie to say goodbye to me. Robbie interpreted this as a “final goodbye” and broke down in tears. He hugged me tight and promised he’d never hit me again. I thanked him, acknowledged how hard it must have been, and said I was very pleased that he had said that, as I really wanted to come home.

We had lunch out and did a few things to keep us distracted. In the evening we watched a film together and had a good bedtime routine. Sunday was a good day too: jobs around the house, out to play with a friend of Robbie’s, games at home and a nice dinner.

I know my reaction on Friday evening was hardly conducive to attachment, yet I really couldn’t take any more. I’m not sure what’ll happen when he hits me next. Because I’m not fooling myself, it’s not a question of “if” but “when”. Robbie knows this too (he said as much yesterday). Hopefully it’ll take a long time and things will have settled again. Then I may be able to communicate to him that hitting me is a blip after a long while without hitting and that I believe he can have another long period without doing it. Fingers crossed, as ever.